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Judges and justices defy return to work order

A committee of Justices and Judges has decided to continue with the strike despite the dismissal of 13 of their colleagues last week by President Salva Kiir.

The nearly 300 justices and judges say they will not resume work unless their demands are met by the President.

The law practitioners want President Kiir to pay their allowances, provide better working conditions, and fire the Chief Justice, Chan Reec Madut, who they accused of failing to address their grievances.

President Kiir instead issued a decree dismissing 13 members of the judiciary.

They were the team that made up the committee for Justices and Judges.

Last week, the Deputy Chief Justice, John Gatwech, also warned the remaining striking justices and judges to return to work immediately or face administrative actions.

Gatwech told Eye Radio that the absence of the legal practitioners from work has crippled the justice system in the country.

However, a new committee of the justices and judges met on Friday and decided to continue with the strike in solidarity with their colleagues.

Justice Bol Lul told Eye Radio that they will not heed the call of the government unless their demands are met.

“Since our colleagues were representing us and were relieved because of that, we will continue with the strike,” Justice Lul stated.

“We will not resume work until our demands are answered by the President, including relieving Chan Reech, the Chief Judge, or reinstatement of our colleagues who were dismissed, or to dismiss all of us.”

Last month, a committee formed by President Kiir to investigate the strike submitted their report to him.

The findings were not discussed and recommendations have not been made public.

Civil society organizations from across the country have reported backlog cases as courts in the states have failed to function due to the strike.

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